Merriman aiming for resurgence in Buffalo

Written by Chris Kolb

Topics: Buffalo Bills

Just a few seasons removed from a stellar start to his career, Shawne Merriman has been relegated to an afterthought around the league, as injuries and off the field issues left him on the outside looking in with the Chargers.

But after being picked up on waivers by the Bills, Merriman is ready to get back to the same form that took the NFL by storm during his rookie year in 2005, in which he took home the Defensive Rookie of the Year award and a trip to the Pro Bowl.

It won’t come easy for Merriman, especially given the multitude of injuries he’s had in recent years, keeping him off the field and in the trainer’s office more often than not. That said, it all starts with attitude and Merriman has said all the right things since his arrival, making it plausible that Buffalo may have gotten a steal by picking Merriman up in the way they did.

“I don’t just see myself going and running around on the field,” said Merriman. “I want these guys to be able to lean on me and know that I’m going to go out there and do the best I can every single day and they can depend on me. That’s how you build trust within the team and I plan on being that.”

Saying the right words and staying humble around his teammates definitely won’t hurt, but it’s going to take a lot more than that for Merriman to return to the same dynamic playmaker that he was during his first few years in San Diego. He’s going to have to stay healthy and be productive when he’s on the field, two things he’s been unable to do for some time now, and his critics point to the suspension he received in 2006 for using performance enhancing drugs as the point at which his career took a turn for the worse.

Merriman has said all of that is behind him and given that there hasn’t been a repeat issue in that regard, it’s likely that he’s telling the truth. But it remains to be seen if Merriman can be the same player he was prior to that suspension, without having the enhancing power of illegal substances in his body, and until he shows himself capable of doing that, anything else he does or says will be worthless to everyone but himself.

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